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Nagaland Sports

Another own-goal for Nagaland football administration

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By Our Reporter Updated: Oct 20, 2016 12:04 am
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DIMAPUR, OCTOBER 19: Senior level football in Nagaland continues to take plunge into new depths of humiliation, tournament after tournaments, all thanks to the sheer incompetence of the suits who run the game here.
The latest of such nosedives, orchestrated by the football administrators, is being played out in Arunachal Pradesh where Nagaland is participating in the 7th Dr T Ao Memorial North East Football Championship.
As of Wednesday, the team from Nagaland had encountered Sikkim and host Arunachal Pradesh in the two league round matches. The first match played on October 17 against Sikkim saw the team being put through the hammer in a 4-0 defeat.
The next day, on October 18, Nagaland was pitted against Arunachal Pradesh. According to a newspaper report, the team from Nagaland were left “dumbstruck” after Arunachal scored 7 goals past them. They were, according to the newspaper report, “trounced” 7-4.
The scoreboard, however, does not tell even half of the story. The obvious conclusion is that the players were poor in the field, how else could they have shipped in 11 goals in two straight games. That too against opponents Nagaland teams have decimated most recently.
It was only in March this year, that Nagaland blanked Sikkim 8-0 at the 2nd National Level North East Games held in Imphal, Manipur. On its way to the final – in which they outgunned Mizoram to lift the cup – Nagaland beat Manipur, who had handed Arunachal a 4-0 defeat.
This radical role-reversal in the space of six months can be explained. For starters, none of the senior football players who were part of the team that lifted the 2nd National Level North East Games are representing Nagaland in the Dr T Ao championship this year.
Of all the senior level football events in the country, the National Level North East Games is the only one that is taken care of by the state department of Youth Resources and Sports. All the rest, including Dr T Ao championship, comes under the care of Nagaland Football Association.
According to a highly reliable source, who has been involved in state football for decades, the players representing Nagaland in Arunachal currently are “mostly junior players”. The seniors did not go because: (a) there was no selection trials (b) there was no coaching/training camp before the tournament for the players to get prepared.
This, unfortunately, has become the soundtrack to almost every senior level football event in which Nagaland participates. A day before leaving for Arunachal, it was reported, the football authorities had asked one of the coaches to release some of his players for the tournament.
The coach flatly refused. “How can I send my players without any preparation? There should be at least 20 to 30 days of training camp before going to play in the tournament,” he told Eastern Mirror on Wednesday.
This is not the first instance. In February this year, weeks before the North East Games, some senior players of the state football team were invited – through telephone calls – by the NFA-appointed coach to play in this year’s Santosh Trophy, which was held from February 12 to March 13.
Those who refused to play include Sakutemjen, Kivi Sumi and Tingnyek Konyak, all household names in Nagaland football. They cited the same reason: a team assembled only a few days prior to the tournament could not compete with other teams.
According to the players: “This leaves us grossly underprepared. So we decided that it was better not to go.” On the other hand, the team that won the North East Games had a coaching camp for 20 days before leaving for the event.
Even back then, such callous handling of players by the administrators was questioned. From what we have seen so far from the episode of this year’s Dr T Ao Memorial North East Football Championship, it would appear that our state’s senior level football administrators’ penchant for scoring own-goals remain undiminished. 14797524_894232414044830_545201816_n-copy

14794084_894232820711456_1074141446_n-copy14801213_894236307377774_141272000_n-copyAll photos used under permission

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By Our Reporter Updated: Oct 20, 2016 12:04:25 am